09-10-2017 01:30 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Defying 450-year-old tradition to let girls in
The Varanasi akhara has broken its 450-year-old tradition to permit girls to practise and wrestle at its hallowed mud pit, dedicated to bachelor God, Hanuman.
The Akhara which is managed by the Sankat Mochan temple trust will now hold fights featuring women from Diwali. It took two feisty 20-year-old girls almost a decade to convince the trust's mahant to allow them to practise at the akhara.
Nandini Sarkar and Aastha Verma who are pursuing their bachelor courses are passionate about wrestling. Nandini believes that the training of traditional wrestlers is incomplete till they touch the mud of an akhara. She said that getting permission was not easy, but her coaches also helped in convincing the mahant.
The mahant of Sankant Mochan, Vishwambar Nath Mishra is also a professor who teaches electronics at IIT BHU. He wanted to contribute to the society in a positive way. Therefore, he took this important decision in favour of the girls and set an example in gender equality.
Both girls have represented UP in wrestling. At the akhara, they were able to try out traditional practice equipment such as bhala and gadha, for the first time. Over the past ten years, the girls have mastered their favourite manoeuvers after watching the men wrestle. For Nandini, its dhobi paat (shoulder throw) while Aastha swears by kalajang (squat punch).
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